Global Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD) prevention Day is observed every year on the 21st of October. Realising the magnitude of the problem, the government of India started with National Iodine Deficiency Disorder Control Program in 1992,  with the goal to bring the prevalence of IDD to below 5% in the country. Also, to ensure the simplest method to prevent the broad spectrum of the disease by assuring 100% consumption of adequately iodated salt (15 ppm) in every household.

Objectives of IDD

  • Resurvey to assess iodine deficiency disorders and the impact after every five years.
  • To produce and supply of iodised salt by replacing common salt.
  • Education and publicity.

Primary Role of Iodine

Iodine is an essential mineral which is a component of the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). These hormones regulate many important biochemical reactions, including protein synthesis , enzymatic activity, and are critical determinants of metabolic activity.

Also, for healthy brain development in the growing foetus and young children.

The recommended dietary allowances (RDA) of Iodine is as follows :-

  • 150 mcg per day in adults and
  • 90-120 mcg per day in children (<13 years )
  • 250 mcg pre day for pregnant women.

Sources of Iodine

Naturally present in food sources

  • Fish (cod, tuna)
  • Seaweed (Kombu, kelp), shrimp
  • Milk , yoghurt cheese
  • Nuts

Fortified products

  • Iodised salt
  • Breakfast cereal
  • Breads


  • Kelp supplements
  • Elemental idoine tablets

IDD Consequences

Globally, India has the largest number of children born prone to iodine-deficiency.

Iodine varies in soil content depending upon the region, natural calamities like flooding, glaciations ,deforestation etc. which leads to deficiency in iodine in crops grown on Iodine deficient soil.

Low levels of thyroid hormones

- Hypothyroidism - underachieve thyroid or low thyroid hormone secretion

- Low IQ

- Delayed puberty

Severe Problems

- Goitre -  swelling in the neck resulting from an enlarged thyroid gland

- Cretinism -  condition of severely stunted physical and mental growth, still birth, preterm deliveries 

- Psychomotor defects in children

Programme Initiatives

WHO and other intergovernmental agencies such as UNICEF, and nongovernmental organisations, like the International Council for Control of Iodine Deficiency (ICCID) , the Micronutrient Initiative, donor foundations such as Melinda Gates Foundation, and the salt industry have been working together to eradicate iodine deficiency worldwide.

In conclusion, iodine is an essential trace element needed for proper growth and development. As discussed , Indian government and NGOs have been successful in  irradiating deficiency in prevalent areas and is still actively working for the cause. Early diagnosis and treatment can make it reversible and consuming idolised salt is the cheapest source of iodine so far.


  • Chandrakant S et al (2013). Iodine deficiency disorders (IDD) control in India.Indian J Med.
  • Jaya K , ET AL (2017).Prevalence and Predictors of Poor Iodine Nutrition in Rural South Odisha: A Comparative Study between Coastal and Hilly Districts.Open Access Journal │

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